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traveling to chicago presumably to take in a game after mocking the presidenin his own back yard. the question is, why doesn't he just announce his candidacy already? it is clearly way too early for this. [ alarm ] good morning to you, i'm peter alexander in again for my friend willie geist. this is "way too early," the show that announces its candidacy for a new timeslot every four years. newt gingrich, we're coming after you. glad we're watching on msnbc or listening live on sirrius xm radio. shoot me an e-mail and let me know why you're awake now or you can do what most gop hopeful doos and text "awake" followed by your response to 622639. what they said, 622639. we'll read the best responses later in the no. the next 30 minutes are going to be your cram session. there's a lot going on including some more unbelievable stories
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of survival. those are coming out of japan. we'll share them with you. plus, what do you do if you share the house speaker's trademarked orange glow? if you're like this guy, you become a john boehner impersonator and hope you can learn to cry on cue. more coming up later. first, we want to get to the news live at 5:30 a.m. here at 30 rock in new york city. just four days after suffering its most devastating natural disaster ever, japan is now potentially facing the worst nuclear accident since chernobyl. in total, there are 17 nuclear power plants across that country. this crisis largely centers around one complex. it's about 170 miles northeast of tokyo. the crippled fukushima power plant. high levels of radiation leaked from the facility this morning after a third reactor was rocked by an explosion and a fourth caught fire. in a brief address to that nation today, the country's prime minister urged calm but said there was a "very high risk
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of further leakage." after an emergency cabinet meeting, the japanese cabinet warned 140,000 people living within roughly 18 miles of the plant to stay indoors to avoid exposure. now the most critical questions over the next day are how much radioactive material spewed into the atmosphere and where will the winds carry it. already near the plant officials reported radiation up to 100 times normal levels. so while those figures are alarming, if there is prolonged exposure, the good news is that they are far from fatal at this point. fortunately, winds also largely sweeping most of the plume of radioactivity out into the pacific ocean. away from those cities. for more we want to get to nbc's kristen dahlgren, joining us by phone from tokyo with the latest. good morning to you. tokyo also reporting slightly elevated radiation levels this morning. there has got to be growing concern among residents there.
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a national population of 128,000 people. what is the primary concern? >> reporter: good morning, peter. well, the winds according to our experts are now blowing it toward tokyo a little bit. as you mentioned, there have been elevated radiation levels here. nothing that officials think is a health concern at this point. but you can imagine the sense of panic that really seems to be growing among people here and in the surrounding areas, watching the disaster unfold. here the latest that we know from the past 24 hours or so. we did see an explosion at that crippled plant in the third reactor, then a fire in a fourth reactor. it sent fuel -- in a spent fuel storage pod. the spent fuel may be boiling and that the water level may be falling. that's according to the tokyo election power company, the operator of that reactor. so a huge concern as they continue to watch that. the fire believed to be out at
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this point. but there were some reports that radiation may have been leaking directly into the atmosphere. so they're watching that closely, as you mentioned. japan's prime minister went on a national televised address here earlier today, and he urged 140,000 people that haven't evacuated in this 20-mile radius from around that plant to now stay indoors. and so there really is a growing sense that things are still developing here. and we could possibly be looking at things getting worse as this does develop. >> kristen, clearly we're going to focus on that as the day moves forward and hope that it only gets better there. there is good news that's keeping hope alive in that country. i think within the last few minutes we're getting across the wires that rescuers found a 70-year-old woman alive in her swept-away home yesterday. do you know any more about this as we try to find some reason for hope? >> reporter: yeah. you know, peter, it's easy in covering sort of the nuclear
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angle of this and the radioactivity to forget about the sheer human toll of the earthquake and tsunami and what people are dealing with. there's been this massive search and rescue operation that's been going on. yeah, we are hearing reports that a 70-year-old woman found alive in her home. it was actually swept away by that wall of water. i'm not sure how far it has swept, but they were able to pull her out alive. she's now getting help at a hospital. so a little ray of help, good news here, as well. >> kristen dahlgren in tokyo again today. be safe. we appreciate you reporting. thanks a lot. >> reporter: you bet. there is more good news coming out of japan that we want to share with you. there is a family celebrating a rare miracle today. a 4-month-old baby girl, four months old, was pulled from the rubble yesterday. three days after that tsunami leveled her shattered village. look at that beautiful shot. the infant was apparently found safe and unharmed by rescue troops who had gone house to house looking for bodies. she was later reunited with her
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father, bringing him much-neefded comfort in this terrible time of crisis. a great picture to look at. as the situation in japan unfolds, obama administration officials are trying to reassure americans that u.s. nuclear facilities are safe. at the white house yesterday, press secretary jay carney and the chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission also insisted there was a "very low likelihood, to use their language, that any potential fallout from japan would ever reach u.s. soil. meanti meantime, president obama promised to continue providing japan any assistance it can as that country recovers from this disaster. take a listen. >> this is an international tragedy. and although japan is a highly advanced economy and technologically equipped to rebuild at this moment of crisis, it's important that all of us join together and n providing any help and assistance that we can in the days and months to come.
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on capitol hill, tennessee republican lamar alexander said the u.s. should not abandon the use of nuclear power in the wake of japan's tragedy. >> it's important that we be clear about the risks that each type of energy poses. but it is also important to remember that we don't abandon highway systems because bridges and overpasses collapse during earthquakes. the 1.6 million of us who fly daily would not stop flying after a tragic airplane crash. also on msnbc last night, massachusetts democratic congressman ed markey said japan was a warning sign for the u.s. here he is. >> obviously over the years there's, i think, been a little wishful thinking that an earthquake could not occur in the united states. but we're getting a very serious warning from japan that we should not believe that humanity can trump mother nature. and if mother nature decides to strike, we will have big
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problems. >> a look at "hardball" late yesterday. while japan struggles to recover from last week's twin disasters, house republicans are defending cuts to foreign aid and ocean safety in their budget proposals. house majority leader eric cantor told reporter yesterday, "we've got to stop spending money we don't have. essentially what you're saying is to go borrow money from the japanese so we can spend it there to help the japanese." concerns over a potential nuclear crisis are weighing heavily on japan's benchmark nikkei index. for more on that, we want to take an early look at the markets as we get all up in your business. this morning, cnbc's anna edwards live in london for us. good morning. good to see you, thank you. yes, there are days when one theme or one story certainly dominates mark thinking. and that certainly is the case today. we've seen markets in the asian session very much weaker. in particular in the japanese market as you might expect. that's now spreading through into the european session and looks as if it will spread through into your equity trade,
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your stock markets, later on today. in terms of where we're seeing the big losses coming through, obviously a lot of it is centered around japan. the nikkei which is the benchmark index, down more than 10%. lost more than 10% of value following losses yesterday. this isn't just on the back of the earthquake and tsunami, it is now adding into that we've got this fear of just how serious the nuclear situation could get. other asian markets were also weaker, and european markets are weaker this hour. look for your stock markets to go weaker when they hope. peter, back to you. >> appreciate it, thank you very much. some other news now. muammar gadhafi's forces are advancing toward the rebel capital of benghazi after retaking one of the last opposition-held towns in western libya yesterday. that development comes as foreign ministers from the group of eight countries are set to meet again today in paris after talks last night produced no apparent agreement on an international response to the conflict. also in paris, by the way,
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secretary of state hillary clinton met with a senior libyan rebel leader. that happened last night. they discussed ways the u.s. can assist efforts to topple gadhafi. after meeting with denmark's prime minister at the white house yesterday, president obama reaffirmed his call for gadhafi to step down. >> mr. gadhafi has lost legitimacy, and he needs to leave. and that we as an international community have to speak firmly against any violence that's directed at civilians. it's going to be very important for us to look at a wide range of options to continue to tighten the noose around mr. gadhafi and apply additional pressure. >> meanwhile, senators joe lieberman and john mccain are both calling on the white house to impose a no-fly zone over libya to aid rebels battling muammar gadhafi. >> it is long past time for the president of the united states
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to answer these calls for international leadership. the united states of america must lead. a no-fly zone was never going to be the decisive action that tipped the balance against gadhafi. even when senator lieberman and i called for it nearly three weeks ago. but it remains the case that a no-fly zone would take one of gadhafi's most lethal tools off the table and thereby boost the confidence of libya's opposition. >> also in that region, the u.s. is urging gulf nations to show restraint after saudi arabia and the united arab emirates sent forces into neighboring bahrain yesterday. the deployment comes as the island kingdom's sunni royal family is struggling to defuse tensions with their shiite majority amid concerns that shiite iran could try to exploit that instability in bahrain. obama administration officials are responding cautiously to yesterday's developments. >> if another country is -- iran
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had decided to go into another country because it felt it was the right thing to do, what would the united states be saying? i know it's a hypothetical, but this appears to be pretty serious. >> well, again, i mean, i think you have to understand what -- we've seen the reports that you're talking about. this is not an invasion of a country. we urge the government of bahrain, as we have repeatedly, as well as other gcc countries to exercise restraint. >> due to the ongoing unrest in bahrain, the u.s. state department said this morning that american citizens should defer travel to bahrain and suggested that americans there should leave. taking another step toward an expected run for the 2012 republican presidential nomination, mississippi governor hailey barbour took his economic message on the road yesterday, addressing the chicagoland chamber of commerce in president obama's own hometown. barbour blamed the president's economic policies for failing to revive the economy.
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>> now the recent election seems to have given the president the zeal of a convert who just heard the gospel. now he's meeting with ceos, extending the bush tax cuts, even speaking to the u.s. chamber of commerce, talking to business leaders about the economy. now that's change even i can believe in. but despite all the talk, there's no change in policy. >> safe to say rahm emanuel unlikely to give him the key to the city on this trip. still ahead, aflac fires the voice of its spokes duck. he had insensitive remarks about the disaster in japan and given the fact that the duck just yells "aflac" over and over, we're pretty confident that the company will be okay without him. plus, what better way to jet up support for the local hockey team than to throw a charlie sheen night complete with a two-for-one tiger blood isis.
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more coming up. mrs. members of the congress, i speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. what can you do with plain mashed potatoes? when you pour chunky beef with country vegetable soup over it,
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on. it's been days since the 9.0 huge earthquake. just about only a little less than an hour ago there was just a 5.3 aftershock off the coast. all those red dots are aftershocks that we're still dealing with. it's still shaking, but obviously we're not getting the huge ones that we did a day or two ago. right now the wind is light on shore up the coast from tokyo to sendai. a cold front moves through, behind the cold front, northwest winds wednesday, thursday, friday. if anything did happen to the nuclear reactor on the coast, all of the cloud would be blown off the coast out to sea. that's great news for the next three days, in case something bad really does happen. as far as here back home, there's rain this morning for our friends in atlanta as you head out the door. everybody else is dry. chilly in new england, 52 with showers in washington, d.c. around the rest of the country, maybe a sprinkle or two around chicago and minneapolis. the real bad weather is on the west coast. once again, those winds the next three days gusty offshore. people in tokyo and everyone else, you know, a little relief.
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>> yeah. if they can go anywhere, we prefer that go to the pacific and stay away from humans. appreciate it. now to sports. it has been four days since labor talks ended between the nfl players and owners. now some of those players who have sued the league are actually speaking out. in a conference call yesterday, with reporters, new orleans quarterback, the former super bowl mvp, drew brees, called out the owners. he said, "i think it was all a show with no real intent to get a deal done other than just to say they made a proposal that was no different than anything else that they proposed over the last couple years, couple months, couple weeks." it might be time to put your tailgates on ice. according to multiple league sources, the nfl players association has contacted 17 of this year's top prospects, trying to convince them not to attend next month's draft. from the gridiron to the hardwood and the start of the ncaa's march madness. believe it or not, it gets underway on a tuesday this morning. the expanded 68-teamer
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tournament beginning tonight at 6:30 p.m. eastern. the university of north carolina asheville and arkansas, little rock, playing for the 16 seed in the southeast. the winner of the game has the pleasure of losing to pitt in the second round. the other game, clemson and the university of alabama birmingham, playing for the 12 seed in the east. the winner of that game will take on fifth-ranked west virginia. that game scheduled for thursday. we go to the nba now and highlights. ten days ago, the spurs handed lebron james and the heat their worst loss of the season, beating them by 30 points. last night, same two teams met again, how would the heat respond? fourth quarter, on transition here. dwyane wade shoveling the no look to lebron for the jam. he would finish with 21 on the night. the heat getting their revenge. they beat the spurs by 30. final score, 110-80. when the team is good, they are real good. with so much charlie sheen in the news, even sports teams are trying to cash in on the
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sheen insanity. the bakersfield condors, a minor league hockey team, had and believe it or not charlie sheen night. the promotions included -- and this is real, folks -- free admission to anyone who brought proof of a clean drug test, $2.50 tickets for dressing like one of charlie sheen's tv or movie characters, and two-for-one tiger blood icies at the game. who's a fan of "hot shots part deux," or ricky vaughn? throw an indians jersey on. coming up, more on japan's new crisis after last week's earthquake and tsunami. we'll update you. also when we come back here, we're going to take a break from the real news to huddle around the water cooler and marvel at a man who has been blessed with john boehner's good looks. [ male announcer ] 100 crisps in every can.
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back now live on "way too early." an explosion at a third nuclear reactor in japan has officials there ordering residents in the area to stay inside to try to avoid contamination as they try to contain the threat of a full nuclear meltdown. if you want to sound smart today, tell your friends that japan has closed 11 of its 54 nuclear reactors since friday's
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earthquake. those reactors provide about 30% of that country's power supply. enough with the real news. we want to gather round the water cooler to talk about the mindless trivia that we know you crave. the comedian gilbert gottfried has this h that long and illustrious career. maps you remember him for his work as the voice of the parrot in "aladdin." maybe it was mr. peabody in "the problem child" that moved you. most know him as the voice of the loud-mouthed duck in the aflac insurance commercials. >> i got hurt in this work, thought i had supplemental insurance. >> supplemental insurance? what's that? >> aflac. >> even best insurance doesn't give you cash to cover things like lost paid, other expenses, this day. >> what does? >> aflac. >> should ask about it at work. >> really, what's it called? >> aflac. >> aflac, without it no insurance is complete. >> aflac. >> all he had to do was say five
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letters, but somehow he had to go overboard. gottfried was fired as the spokes-duck after a series of tasteless twitter post. here's one of the less offensive tweets. he said "what does every japanese person have in their apartment? flood lights." the company had this to say, saying, "gilbert's comments were lacking in humor and do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at aflac." one last story for you. bill faloon is a general contractor in houston, texas, or perhaps he was one. he's getting a lot of attention now because he looks a lot like house speaker john boehner. he does. in fact, he's become so will known that he's considering becoming a professional lookalike. he admits that he has to master one crucial trait if he's going to take the show on the road. >> i am a little sensitive, but i don't know if i can weep on demand. i may have to work on that a little bit. i think it would be fun to approach "saturday night live" and, you know, do things with them. i mean, i think it would be interesting for the next couple
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of years. he's there, and he's not going anywhere. >> he's got the orange cue, orange glow down. now he just needs the crying and he's all set. ♪
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Way Too Early With Willie Geist
MSNBC March 15, 2011 5:30am-6:00am EDT

News/Business. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Tokyo 8, U.s. 7, Us 5, Bahrain 4, Charlie Sheen 4, United States 3, Allstate 3, Muammar Gadhafi 2, Campbell 2, Kristen Dahlgren 2, Mr. Gadhafi 2, Paris 2, John Boehner 2, Obama Administration 2, Libya 2, Roc Multi-correxion 2, Msnbc 2, Chicago 2, Obama 2, The Spurs 2
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